R2R Reef of the Month Spotlight: Broadfield - March 2017

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Living the Reef Life
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Nov 18, 2012
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Ontario, California


Build Thread: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/broadfields-red-sea-reefer-450-build-ocd-inspired.211616/

Name: Toby Broadfield


I first want to introduce myself. My name is Toby Broadfield and I am from Normal, Illinois. My overall goal for this setup was to be ultra organized with the equipment, make water changes a breeze (no more buckets), have somewhat of a minimalistic rock scape, and have a stunning display without spending a treasure chest of money on expensive corals. I think I have achieved my initial goals, but there’s always room for improvement. I have kept to my plan of not buying any rare/expensive coral specimens. I like to buy larger, average priced corals to fill out the tank. I think it still provides a stunning look while not having to wait for expensive frags to grow. I’m sure as I progress through the hobby, I’ll be picking up more expensive corals as I go.

Here are a couple of pictures of the aquascape in the beginning:


The tank as it looks today:

System Profile:
  • Display tank: Red Sea Reefer 450 59” x 22” x 20"
  • Glass or Acrylic: Glass
  • Stand: Red Sea
  • Sump: Elite Aquatics
  • Protein skimmer: Nyos Quantum 160
  • Carbon/phosphate filtration: Bio pellets and GFO via Aquamaxx reactors. I have a 3rd Aquamaxx GAC reactor that I can bring online in case of an emergency.
  • Return pump: Ecotech Vectra L1
  • Water circulation: Neptune WAV x 2
  • Lighting: Giesemann Spectra MH/T5
  • Calcium/alkalinity/magnesium dosing: BRS 2-Part via Neptune DOS/DDR
  • Auto top-off: Puratek Auto Level Controller
  • Heating/cooling: Finnex 300 watt titanium heater x 2
  • System control: Neptune Apex
  • Sand: Tropic Eden Reefflakes Aragonite Sand
  • Salt: Reef Crystals

I really wanted to focus on aesthetics on this build. One of the challenges was working in conjunction with the Red Sea cabinet and tank bulkheads. So my hands were tied a bit, but I came up with a good game plan. Fortunately, I do custom fabrication for a living, so making this happen was more just my time and not spending a ton of money. I wanted to display the items, while having ultra organization at the same time.


I carried the color combo of the Elite Aquatics sump and plumbing over into my control center. I used a selection of acrylic, wood and LEDs to fabricate the mounting solution and trim panels. All of the lighting is controlled through the Apex and can be turned on/off manually depending on what mood I am in. The decorative panels are magnetized to the mount for easy removal. Then the mount itself is hinged for easy access to the power strips and Apex guts behind it.



Light panels removed - Note the magnets used for mounting.

Water Circulation and Flow Summary and Objectives:

Water flow for this tank was a bit of a challenge. Since it’s a mixed reef, it’s fairly difficult making everything happy. I’m using a pair of the Neptune WAVs to get adequate flow throughout the tank. I have found that having them mounted high in the back corners, angled in and up a little, I get nice random flow bouncing off of the front glass. I also use my return pump and adjustable return nozzles to add to the flow. I realize a lot of reefers argue that slow flow through the sump is best, but I have been doing the opposite for this tank and it has worked out great for me. I run a ton of return flow with a Vectra L1 running at 100%. A lot of that flow is lost in the reactors and plumbing, but it still has quite the push at the return nozzles.

Water Parameters:
  • Temp: 80
  • pH: 8.2
  • Specific gravity: 1.0267
  • NO3: 6
  • Ca: 420
  • Alk: 8.4
  • Mg: 1440
  • PO4: .03
  • Ammonia and nitrites: 0.00

Lighting Summary and Objectives:

I am currently running a Giesemann Spectra MH/T5 hybrid with a couple of Luxcore 250/400 selectable ballasts… and I am in love! I started this tank with LED fixtures and just wasn’t happy with the shadowing. I had never owned metal halides before and decided to give them a try. I am running two single ended 21k Giesemann bulbs and four 54w Giesemann T5 actinic bulbs, with the fixture mounted 12” above the water line. I have had the fixture on the tank for only a month, but so far I am very impressed. Better growth all around and insane coverage. I think once LED fixture coverage improves more (and it’s already starting to), I’m sure I will give them a shot again on a future tank.


T5: 4:00pm - 1:00am
MH: 5:00pm - 12:00am


Filtration and Water Quality Summary and Objectives:

When I set up this tank, I knew that I wanted to keep several anthias among some other random fish. Knowing that this would create quite the bio load, I decided to run bio pellets right from the get go. I keep the pellets colonized by dosing ZEObak and Prodibio BioDigest per instructions. The pellets help me maintain nitrates around 6. I’ve noticed if I go much lower than that, my orange monti starts to pale… so that specific coral is my indicator. I also run GFO to keep phosphates around .03. For mechanical filtration, I use dual 4” filter socks and change them every 3 days. Lastly, I do a 15% water change every Sunday. These simple things have allowed me to keep my anthias full, while not having any nuisance algae of any kind.



Water changes are made easy with my water change and mixing station in the basement. I utilize a couple of 65-gallon storage containers to store fresh water and salt water. The Apex system monitors and controls salt water temp while also keeping an eye on salinity. I also use a Neptune WAV pump to constantly agitate the water. Since I do weekly water changes, I decided I would keep the mixed up salt water at the proper temp and circulated at all times…. as opposed to mixing it up and heating it up on the fly.


Basement Control System with RODI Filtration


Water Mixing Station

To see more info on the water change setup, check out the post here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/b...uild-ocd-inspired.211616/page-21#post-3302526

Calcium/Alkalinity/Magnesium Summary and Objectives:

To maintain the big two, I use a Neptune DOS/DDR to deliver BRS 2-Part. It’s kind of a set and forget. I do micro adjust the dosing according to my test results though. For magnesium, I simply dose by hand about every month or so. But other than weekly water changes, I do nothing else to maintain the proper levels.


Tank Inhabitants


1. Carberryi antias x 3
2. Bartlett’s anthias x 3
3. Squareback anthias
4. Purple queen anthias
5. Purple tang
6. Black axil chromis
7. Sapphire damsel
8. Picasso clown







Other Invertebrates:

1. Arrow crab
2. Coral banded shrimp
3. Cleaner shrimp
3. Sexy shrimp
4. Two snails LOL




1. Various euphyllia: torch, hammer (branching and wall), octospawn and frogspawn
2. Various zoas and palys
3. Various leathers, toadstools, nephthea
4. Various acans
5. Various chalices
6. Various SPS: acro, birds nest, stylo, millie, digi, monti(plating and encrusting)
7. Various favias
8. Various gonioporas
9. Various Trachyphyllia, Lobophyllia, Wellsophyllia, Symphyllia
10. Other LPS: duncan, blasto, trumpet, elegance, bowerbanki
11. Rock nems










Fish and Coral Feeding:

To keep the anthias happy, I feed LRS Reef Frenzy 3x per day. The rest of tank gets a mixture of Coral frenzy, Reef Roids and Reef Blizzard about 3x per week. Lastly I dose Prodibio Reefbooster 2x per month.

Who was responsible for getting you into the hobby?

When I was a kid, my uncle owned a LFS. I would go in there every day, during summer break, and hang out all day. I learned a lot, but mostly about fresh water. It allowed me to own several fresh water tanks at a time. He helped me learn proper maintenance schedules, testing procedures, overall fish care etc.


How long have you been doing this?

I have been knee-deep in the reef hobby for only about 3 years now. I dabbled in it back in 1997, but failed. Like most of us reefers, I have owned many freshwater tanks since the early 80’s.

Who or what in the hobby most influences/inspires you?

The tank that originally inspired me was @ChristopherKriens’ Elos 160 (check out his build thread here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/chris-algae-farm-elos-160.109257/). It’s exceptionally beautiful and clean! I would stare at pictures of his tank all day long. It doesn’t hurt that he takes good photos either!


What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?

I’m actually pretty happy where the tank is in its 18 months of existence. I’m still trying to make everything happy though. If there’s one thing I struggle with, it’s my acans. I just can’t keep them happy while keeping everything else in the tank happy. I recently ramped up my feeding a little, so we’ll see where that gets me. Acans have always been one of my favorite coral species, therefore I don’t want to give up on them quite yet. About the only other thing I may do in the future is purchase an additional Neptune DOS to perform daily water changes. However, water changes are already painless, so I’m in no rush. Otherwise I look forward to planning my next tank build.

Final Thoughts?

I’m not sure what the statistics say, but it seems as though this hobby is still growing. At the very least, manufacturers are still cranking out new and improved products, along with firsts in the industry lately. With a forum as amazing as R2R, I see no reason for the hobby to slow down. There’s a wealth of information on the site and its users are always willing to help. There’s no reason for a new hobbyist to fail… just ask the questions and we (R2R) will answer!
Last edited:


7500 Club Member
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Nov 21, 2015
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SouthWestern Connecticut
What an amazing system! Top to bottom, from the lighting to the anthias all getting along like they're not always supposed to, to that incredible display below!!

I'm impressed - and maybe a little intimidated . . .



Red Sea Reefer Consultant... Non Affiliated
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Feb 8, 2014
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Normal, IL
What an amazing system! Top to bottom, from the lighting to the anthias all getting along like they're not always supposed to, to that incredible display below!!

I'm impressed - and maybe a little intimidated . . .


LOL, thanks Bruce!
Lazys Coral House
Top Shelf Aquatics


5000 Club Member
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Oct 29, 2015
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Congratulations and well deserved, I love the simplicity and elegance of your aquascape and your fish and corals are just beautiful.
Again well deserved :)


Red Sea Reefer Consultant... Non Affiliated
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Feb 8, 2014
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Normal, IL
That sump looks like something that belongs in Tron. I love it!

LOL, I've seen that exact comparison several times on Facebook posts... thanks!

Bravo, well deserved! ;)

One of my favorite systems. It is so elegant. Well deserved!

Your system always blows me away when I see it. Congratulations on the spot light.

Yours was the first build I would follow when I started lurking here at R2R and inspired me to upgrade to the Reefer.

Well deserved recognition of your passion and hard work.

Absolutely the most amazing, detailed and tidy build I have ever seen.... Just WOW!!!! Thanks for sharing!
@Tyler Walker check this out!

It could not be more well deserved of the spotlight feature! Your tank continues to amaze and inspire me all the time! Congratulations!

Congratulations and well deserved, I love the simplicity and elegance of your aquascape and your fish and corals are just beautiful.
Again well deserved :)

And to everyone else, thanks for the compliments!


Owner Administrator
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May 8, 2006
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One of my all time favorite builds!

Equipment, set up, photos, etc. all impeccable!

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful reef with us!


Active Member
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Feb 9, 2016
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Yea man, definitely one of my favorite builds I've seen. I must of looked at your tank at least 20 times and everyone time I'm captivated. Great job


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